Groves Academy

Groves Academy Parent Perspectives with Dana Barr

Thank you to Groves Academy parent Dana Barr for sharing her Groves Academy experiences with us.

What is your name and how long has your student been at Groves?

My name is Dana Rae Barr and this is my son Colin’s 7th year at Groves Academy. He has been at Groves from 2nd to 8th grades.

How did you first learn about Groves Academy?

I was called in to meet with Colin’s first-grade teacher. She informed me he was reading zero words per minute. She thought he might have dyslexia. I found Groves Academy by using the Next Door App as well as a Google search. Everyone I spoke with said the same thing- get him to Groves. I called and spoke to a family navigator who told me about options for getting Colin diagnosed and about all Groves could offer him. He was tested at the Center for Behavior and Learning, and I found out he had severe dyslexia, dysgraphia, and ADHD. I was told, “He is a Groves kid!”

How is Groves Academy different from your student’s previous learning experiences?

My son came from a public school. His previous school could not differentiate his learning needs from other students there who had much more intense special needs, so he could not get the appropriate kind of help he needed. He still tells me stories about how his teacher was mean to him. After his visiting day at Groves, he wanted to go to the “reading school.” He attended Groves Summer Programs before second grade, and when I picked him up on the first day he said, “I love my new school!” He wore a Groves t-shirt every day of the summer program.

His experience at Groves is the opposite of his old school. His teachers are dedicated to teaching him in a way he needs to learn. Everyone in the building is so positive, and their goal is to improve his confidence and help him reach his academic potential.

How would you describe the Groves experience and community?

Groves Academy has been so welcoming and supportive since day one. The teachers and staff are there because they are committed to changing students’ lives through transformative learning experiences. They live and breathe the mission of Groves Academy and the core values (Authenticity, Collaboration, Compassion, Discovery, and Tenacity) are a part of everyday life. They are able to help students be successful which leads to improved self-esteem and the ability to see dyslexia as a challenge, and that dyslexic thinking can be an asset. Colin was so excited to learn his teacher had ADHD, just like him! The Growth Mindset and Executive Function curriculum is the icing on the cake!

The teachers communicate with me frequently and are always available to answer questions or address concerns. I know that they care about Colin in and out of school. The Groves community of parents and families are forever bonded by the common experience of having a child with learning differences. We have built strong relationships with other Groves families.

Do you have a favorite Groves moment or story?

In second grade, I went to the lower school Pastries With a Pal event.  Colin had written a paragraph about “Thanksgiving” in cursive and it was totally legible. I was astounded by the amount of progress he made in such a short time. He was proud of himself and I knew he was in the right place! I still have that paragraph on our bulletin board. It makes me smile every time I see it.

What would you tell yourself if you could go back to the time before Groves?

I would tell myself that my son having a learning disability did not mean he was doomed to fail. I would also tell myself that there is a great place for kids with learning differences and everything would be OK. My son would be happy and able to thrive at Groves. Public school is not the best place for everyone!

How has Groves Academy changed your students and your family?

I don’t even know where to start! One of my friends told me the decision to go to Groves changed the trajectory of his life and he would be able to realize his full potential! My son went from a struggling, sad, crying student who hated school to a constantly smiling student who LOVES to go to school!

My stress level dropped immediately, and every day no longer felt like a fight against his old school. He is now in 8th grade, is happy and confident, successful and thriving at Groves. He loves playing soccer and basketball for Groves. Anything is possible for his future. His dyslexic thinking is a gift.

What keeps you at Groves?

I would have to say the teaching teams and the curriculum. The amount of individual attention and support he gets every day is priceless. He wants to graduate from Groves and knows his life after high school is full of possibilities.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I asked Colin why he liked Groves. He replied, “Because Groves is inclusive. People understand what you are going through and no one bullies you about your learning difference!”


Contact us to speak to a Groves Family Navigator.

They’re well-versed in the curriculum, instruction, and extracurricular activities offered at Groves Academy and services at Groves Learning Center. They’re also knowledgeable about learning disabilities and attention and executive function disorders. They can provide guidance regarding our school, diagnostic evaluations, tutoring, speech-language services, and other resources.

Contact a Groves Family Navigator


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